- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 14, 2007

ALGERIA

Attacks imminent, U.S. Embassy warns

ALGIERS — The U.S. Embassy in Algeria said it had unconfirmed reports of possible attacks planned for Algiers today, three days after twin suicide explosions killed 33 persons in the capital.

In a notice issued to U.S. expatriates early today, the embassy said: “According to unconfirmed information, there may be attacks planned for [today] in areas that include the Algiers Central Post Office … and Algerian State Television Headquarters.”

The embassy added it would be open for business as usual but would be restricting the movements of it staff.

Two suicide bomb attacks killed 33 persons and wounded more than 200 in the port city on Wednesday, raising fears that the North African country might return to the intense political violence that gripped the country in the 1990s.

AUSTRALIA

Howard wants to bar immigrants with HIV

MELBOURNE — Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday that Australia should bar immigrants with HIV, and his government was examining ways to make its tough restrictions even stronger.

HIV/AIDS workers accused Mr. Howard of xenophobia and promoting the racist belief that immigrants — particularly Africans — were responsible for bringing the disease to Australia. Advocates also said they were puzzled by the idea of tightening laws when the vast majority of HIV-positive prospective migrants and refugees were rejected under the current rules.

Mr. Howard was asked in a radio interview in Melbourne if he thought people with HIV should be allowed into Australia as migrants or refugees. “My initial reaction is, no,” he said.

Many countries, including the United States, restrict immigration and visa approvals for people with HIV. Australia has long had rules to block people with communicable diseases such as tuberculosis.

CUBA

Chavez says Castro back to governing

CARACAS, Venezuela — Cuban leader Fidel Castro has almost entirely recovered from surgery last year and has informally taken back a “good part” of duties governing the country, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said yesterday.

“By now, Fidel has resumed a good part of his duties, though not formally,” said Mr. Chavez, who is Mr. Castro’s closest ally in the region and has frequently commented on Mr. Castro’s recovery.

Mr. Castro has not been seen in public since he underwent emergency intestinal surgery that forced him to hand over power temporarily to his brother, Raul Castro, on July 31.

ECUADOR

Correa poised to win referendum, poll shows

QUITO — Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa will comfortably win a referendum tomorrow that could dent the influence of an unpopular Congress blamed for the poor Andean state’s political instability, a new poll shows.

The Cedatos-Gallup poll released yesterday showed 66 percent of Ecuadorans would back the president’s referendum, up from 63 percent on Sunday. Only 15 percent planned to vote against, down from 20 percent.

Mr. Correa, who took office in January, hopes the referendum will establish an assembly with broad powers to curb the influence of a Congress that has helped oust three presidents in 10 years.

A resounding victory for Mr. Correa, a U.S.-educated economist, would allow him to forge ahead with reforms that have rattled Wall Street. He has vowed to end the lease on a U.S. military base, renegotiate oil deals and rework the national debt.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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